Advent 2012: Pray - Study - Act
In This Issue
PRAY: Reflection for Second Sunday of Advent
STUDY: Why make a peacemaking mission to Afghanistan?
ACT: Two million friends for peace
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Second Week of Advent, Dec. 9-15, 2012
Greetings of peace!  
Later this week (December 6th), we'll be celebrating the feast day of the real St. Nicholas. When my kids were younger, we wanted to share with them the tradition and legend of St. Nicholas, from which the popularized version of Santa Claus arose. In Robert Ellsberg's wonderful book, All Saints, he concludes the entry on St. Nicholas with this: 
St. nicholas
St. Nicholas

"Well does (St. Nicholas) deserve to be the patron of children, and well might they delight in his name. But he might be remembered not only as the jolly source of toys and treats but also as the protector of those whose lives and innocence remain threatened today--as they were in the time of St. Nicholas--by violence, poverty, and exploitation."

It is often these feast days in between the Sundays of Advent which spark conversation and reflection on what it means to be a follower of Jesus, the Prince of Peace today. From the Feast of St. Nicholas to the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe to the Feast of the Holy Innocents, I find Advent and Christmas rife with opportunities to pray, study and act for peace with justice, whether on my own, with my family or as a member of my local Pax Christi group. I hope resources like this Pray-Study-Act e-bulletin help you and your loved ones to witness to the peace of Christ this season too. 
For additional Advent resources, we hope you'll visit our Advent resource page on the website.


In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA
 PRAY: Dec. 9, Second Sunday of Advent
By Mary Lou Kownacki, osb

Baruch 5:1-9 | Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11 | Luke 3:1-6


Every story has a hero. The Christmas story is no different. This Sunday, we meet the first hero of the season. His name is John.


What makes a person a hero?


I remember two of mine. The Catholic high school I attended in the 50's had a yearly retreat. In my sophomore year I was disrupting a period of silence and was told either to "go to the library and get a book to read or go to the office for detention."


I opted for the library and grabbed a book titled Tumbleweed from the table filled with retreat materials. In those pages I met Catherine de Hueck Doherty, the Baroness. Almost forty years later I remember how my heart burned within me as I read the story of her life, how this woman who was born to privilege in Russia lost everything during the revolution and came to understand that being a Christian meant serving the poorest of the poor. It gave me a whole new vision of what it took to be a follower of Jesus. It greatly influenced my life and was probably the best retreat I ever made.


STUDY: Why make a peacemaking 
mission to Afghanistan?

by Fr. John Dear, S.J.

Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace


Peacemaking, to paraphrase Fyodor Dostoyevsky, is "a harsh and dreadful thing."


This week, I'm flying to Kabul, Afghanistan, on a long-planned, hopeful yet modest mission of peace. I've been looking for a way to get to Afghanistan for the last 12 years. I remember speaking out against the impending U.S. bombing of Afghanistan in September 2001* at a rally in Greenwich Village, New York, and again, just after the U.S. war began in October 2001*, in Times Square. In January 2003, I spoke against our war in Afghanistan and our impending war on Iraq at the large mobilization in front of the U.S. Capitol to 300,000 people. Since then, I've been denouncing this war, organizing demonstrations, speaking with politicians, even getting arrested in acts of civil disobedience. With Archbishop Desmond Tutu, I tried -- and came close -- to meeting with President Barack Obama about it. But most of all, I've wanted to go there myself.


So this week, I fly to the other side of the world, to one of the poorest places on the planet, where 2 million people have been killed in warfare in the last four decades. I'm going, basically, for three reasons...


ACT: Two million friends for peace

from Susan Perretti, Kathy Kelly & Pax Christi Long Island


Working and living in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) have come together with concerned individuals from every continent and more than two dozen countries to try to find 2 million friends for Afghanistan working for peace in memory of the 2 million Afghans who have died in the near continuous war that has racked their country for the past four decades.  

On December 10 (International Human Rights Day), the APVs, accompanied by international observers such as Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire and Fr. John Dear, S.J. will call on the UN to broker a  multilateral ceasefire in Afghanistan. In communities throughout the world, friends of the APVs will be holding events in solidarity with this request for peace and the remembrance of the 2 million Afghans who have died.
Pax Christi USA is helping to spread word of the 2 million friends campaign by encouraging our members to visit the website to sign on to become a friend to the APVs, to sign their petition to the UN, and/or to plan events on Human Rights Day.